NUTP objects Covid-19 screening at schools, suggests self-testing at home

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KUALA LUMPUR – The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) is objecting to the implementation of COVID-19 screening tests for primary school students every Wednesday beginning Dec 1.

Instead, NUTP secretary-general Wang Heng Suan suggested that pupils take the tests at home carried out by parents and that the parents of pupils selected to undergo the test should be informed beforehand and be supplied with test kits.

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The parents can then submit the test results by uploading images of the results to their respective class teachers,” he said in a statement Dec 2.

He added this was after NUTP had received complaints from teachers informing them that asking teachers to conduct RTK-antigen COVID-19 tests for primary school students is dangerous and puts teachers at risk.

“This is because the teachers are not given any protective gear, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), gloves, face shields or among others when conducting the screenings. The pupils are also unable to do the test themselves,” he said.

“The pupils should be allowed to attend school on the day if their results are negative, and quarantine at home if otherwise,” he explained.

Wang said this method would help prevent COVID-19 transmission to teachers and school staff in the event pupils test positive.

He said NUTP hoped that the Education Ministry would reconsider the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the sake of pupils, teachers and school staff’s safety and health.

The Education Ministry (MOE) on Nov 27 said primary school pupils would undergo the mandatory COVID-19 screening test based on a rotational basis every Wednesday in line with the National COVID-19 Testing Strategy (NTS) set by the Health Ministry.

MOE said the COVID-19 rotation screening tests must be implemented every Wednesday, which is a schooling day.

MOE has supplied the COVID-19 self-test kits to its primary schools to ensure the screening tests can be implemented according to the COVID-19 self-test procedure in the Guidelines for School Management and Operation 3.0.